New York Rangers retire Jean Ratelle’s number 19 (Video)

Despite all of the negativity surrounding the New York Rangers, the fan base came together once again to honor the legendary Jean Ratelle. 

It was a star-studded event as the New York Rangers honored Jean Ratelle, raising his number 19 to the rafters at Madison Square Garden.

Ranger greats Brian Leetch, Mark Messier, Ed Giacomin, Mike Richter, Rod Gilbert and Adam Graves were on hand to honor Rattelle.

To go along with these legends, the Rangers brought back some of Ratelle’s former teammates. Greats like Brad Park, Vic Hadfield, Bob Nevin, Steve Vickers, Bob Plager, Pete Stemkowski, Ted Irvin, Gilles Villemure, and Rod Seiling were also in attendance. Current players sat on the bench all wearing jerseys with the number 19 and the name “Ratelle” on their backs.

Also making a rare appearance at Madison Square Garden was Emile Francis. Francis coached the Rangers from 1965 through the 1975 season. Ratelle would flourish under Francis scoring 314 goals in that span. Francis would present Ratelle with a set of golf clubs in a customized New York Ranger golf bag with his number 19 on the front. When talking about Ratelle, Francis said “Jean was one of the greatest players on and off the ice. I had the best seat in the house, behind the bench.”

Ratelle told a sold out Madison Square Garden crowd that “it is an honor and a privilege to see my sweater raised up to the rafters here at Madison Square Garden to be with the great New York Rangers players of the past.”

“Looking back, I feel that I was one of the luckiest players in the National Hockey League.”

The retiring of Ratelle’s number makes it the ninth number retired in franchise history. His number is the first number the Rangers have retired since the 2009 season when they retired Harry Howell’s number three and Andy Bathgate’s number nine.

Along with his jersey retirement, the Rangers presented Ratelle with some gifts. Ratelle received an inscribed watch to commemorate the 92-year history of the New York Rangers. They also presented Ratelle with a framed game worn number 19 jersey.

Just to show the type of person that Ratelle is, it was on his night that he and Gilbert made a major announcement. The Rangers will be retiring the final part of the “G-A-G line” Vic Hadfield’s number in the 2018-19 season.

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